Ingredients to avoid in cosmetics
Mir is the only range free from irritants, fragrance and essential oils, comedogenic (pore-clogging) substances, mineral oil, colours and dyes, soap and sulphates. We exclude more than 200 adverse ingredients, some of which are shown below.
The skin is more likely to absorb chemicals and toxins when it is irritated and the functions and integrity of the acid mantle have been compromised.
All products in the Mir Skin Care System, are designed to restore and protect this vital balance.
because a product is organic, developed by dermatologists, raved about by beauty journalists or used by a myriad of celebrities doesn't automatically make it good for you. Words such as
"organic", "pure", "kind", "fragrance free", "paraben free", "preservative free" on the label seems to prevent us turning the product over and looking at the ingredients list.
Organic cakes, chocolates, biscuits etc are just as fattening as non-organic. Similarly, organic skin irritants, fragrances and pore-cloggers are no less irritating or pore-clogging than their non-organic counterparts.
We are absolutely in favour of products being as natural as possible but it is more important for them to be good for your skin than to be completely natural.
Despite claims to the contrary, organic, niche, fragrance free and dermatologist ranges often contain:
In an effort to avoid preservatives (which are necessary in healthy, water-based products) organic skin care tends to be oil-based and may ultimately cause blemishes in those prone to them.
Many organic ranges are based on comedogenic vegetable oils such as almond, apricot kernel, avocado, cocoa butter, castor, coconut, corn, linseed, peanut, olive, sesame, sunflower.
Also avoid mineral oil, paraffinum liquidum, petrolatum as these are from non-sustainable resources.
If a product is labelled non-comedogenic all that means is that it was tested on the backs of volunteers, not on pimple-prone faces. It may still contain comedogenic ingredients.
Some of the natural oils on our list may be fine when used in lip and body balms, body lotions etc. But if you develop spots check the ingredients of the products you use on or around the relevant area. Lip balm may be smearing on your pillow at night and getting onto your skin, try Mir Argan Beauty Oil as a lip balm instead. Spots on hairline, jaw line, neck, back and shoulders? Check hair care products and wash skin after rinsing off conditioner.
These usually contain irritating essential oils, see below. The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to formulate products which are entirely free from natural or chemical fragrance. Cosmetic ingredients which smell fine individually can become malodorous in combination, so essential oils are handy for masking unpleasant whiffs and still enable the manufacturer to label the product as fragrance free.
Avoid on face - and on the body if your skin is sensitive or you have a known skin condition, such as eczema in which case try Mir Liquid Silk Shower Gel.
Lavender and tea tree are useful for spot-treating - just the spot itself, avoiding surrounding skin.
They may sound natural to you but your skin perceives essential oils as complex chemical compounds. Approximately 75% of our customers have highly sensitive skin and many have told us that they didn't suffer from sensitivity or blemishes before they used products containing essential oils on their faces. The blemishes are usually a result of the high oil content of these products. Again, just because they are naturally derived does NOT mean they are good for your face. Some of our customers are professional aromatherapists who use Mir precisely because it does not contain essential oils.
AHAs, BHAs, retinol* etc irritate and peel the skin thereby accelerating ageing. *Incidentally, retinol is not the same as Retin-A - which has been shown to have anti-ageing effects but is only available on prescription because it is so irritating.
AHAs may be listed as: glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, glycolic acid + ammonium glycolate, alpha-hydroxyethanoic acid + ammonium alpha-hydroxyethanoate, alpha-hydroxyoctanoic acid, alpha-hydroxycaprylic acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, mixed fruit acid, tri-alpha hydroxy fruit acids, triple fruit acid, sugar cane extract, alpha hydroxy and botanical complex, L-alpha hydroxy acid, glycomer in crosslinked fatty acids alpha nutrium (three AHAs).
BHAs may be listed as: salicylic acid, salicylate, sodium salicylate and willow extract; beta hydroxybutanoic acid, tropic acid, trethocanic acid.
Collagen and pentapeptides - severe irritants to the intelligence. We would question the integrity of any company making claims about products containing them. Collagen applied to the skin does not have any effect on your own. And as for all the ridiculous unfounded claims made about pentapeptides, as various medical and scientific experts have confirmed: there is no evidence whatsoever that they are of benefit and some may even be toxic. Keep your skin naturally supple with or and see our anti ageing section for holistic, realistic advice.
Everyone knows that alcohol is an irritant but amazingly, as mentioned above, it is often used as a preservative in natural and organic "sensitive" skin ranges - in order to be effective it needs to be used at around 20%! Men with sensitive skin: be very cautious with after shave products.
Fatty alcohols, used at certain levels, can produce cumulative irritation - ie irritation that builds up gradually over time. Some examples are stearyl/cetostearyl/cetyl alcohol (see General list below for more) are present in most products, including "100% organic" ranges. (We question whether there is such a thing!) We have avoided them insofar as this is possible. A very low level of Ceteareth-20, a glycol ether which derives from fatty alcohols but is more gentle, is present in both of our moisturisers.
Soaps: Avoid on face. Occasional use on body. The alkaline pH of soap can make it irritating and drying. However wonderfully natural, gentle and moisturising the ingredients may sound, however much glycerine has been left in - it is the manufacturing process that renders soap too alkaline for sensitive skin - whether handmade or mass produced.
Sulphates (or sulfates): E.g. ammonium lauryl sulphate, ammonium laureth sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate are harsh surfactants (surface active agents, also known as detergents) and are commonly found even in the most exclusive and organic ranges. It doesn't matter whether a substance is naturally derived, the point is that these can irritate and dry your skin and encourage blemishes. Some surfactants are very mild and can even help to calm and soothe the skin. We use a combination of these very mild surfactants in our cleansing products.
Alcohol, alcohol SD. Benzoyl peroxide (unless in OTC or prescription product), butyl stearate, butylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetyl stearyl alcohol (fatty alcohols which used at certain levels in a formulation may cause cumulative irritation, see Alcohol and Fatty Alcohols, above). Citrus oils, extracts and juices. Cinnamon, clove oil. DHA or dihydroxyacetone (tan enhancing ingredient which can be present in
organic self-tanners. Usually described as being
naturally derived - it is still irritating and has to be present in all self-tanning products for them to work). Esostearyl alcohol. Essential oils. Eucalyptus oil. Fragrance (aka parfum). Isocetyl stearate. Isopropyls including: isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl lineate, isopropyl myristate, isopropyl neopententanate, isopropyl palmitate (all pore-clogging). Lanolin and lanolin derivatives (ditto and it's sheep sebum). Laureth 4, lauryl alcohol. Myristyls including: myristyl ether propionate, myristyl lactate, myristyl myristate. Octyl palmitate, octyl stearate. Oleic acid. PABA, paraffin, peppermint, phenol, phosphoric acid. Propylene glycol. Witch hazel (natural but 15 to 70% alcohol).
There is absolutely no need for colours, dyes and pearlisers so we avoid them. We could add something to our cleansers to make them clear but again it's unnecessary.
A word about preservatives
This used to be a short section which basically explained why preservatives are used but there seems to be so much confusion on the subject that I've had to extend it! If you want the short version then see the bold text below. Otherwise, read on..
Personally, I prefer to use healthy, skin-friendly, properly formulated, safe products rather than those boasting they are free from "nasties".
People tend to think preservatives are the bad guys, well guess what? They're wrong. If you use preservative- free products you risk coming across some real "nasties", micro-organisms that can cause serious skin and eye infections - and worse.
It's a simple fact that chemical preservatives are always going to be the subject of internet "scaremongering".
The problem is they tend to be misunderstood.
They are there to protect you.
They are not there because evil cosmetic companies don't care what goes into their products.
The fact that lab workers have to wear masks, gloves and protective eye wear when handling preservatives (and other cosmetic raw materials, including organic substances) does not indicate that they are toxic, risky or dangerous to you when present in a product.
Lab workers repeatedly handling bulk undiluted material run the risk of it causing irritation, getting into their eyes, cuts or grazes, or being inhaled. They could then suffer injuries for which they could sue their employers. So safety measures have to be in place.
Handling tubs or barrels of an undiluted raw material is hardly the same as using a product containing less than 1% of it.
As a lawyer (solicitor/attorney) and cosmetic scientist I've come across some horror stories concerning improperly preserved cosmetics.
In one particular case, a product had to be withdrawn from sale and recalled nationwide when, through normal usage, a bottle became contaminated with dangerous levels of a micro-organism capable of causing skin and eye infections and possibly blindness.
Fortunately the customer concerned noticed something was wrong and returned it. It later transpired that after squeezing the bottle to dispense the product, some was sucked back inside. Micro-organisms present on her hands multiplied in the bottle because of an inadequate or inefficient preservative system.
Most people are by now aware that, by law, all cosmetics containing water must be properly preserved or they are not safe to use.
Some choose to use oil-based cosmetics in order to avoid preservatives, however these can be too heavy for skin health, resulting in clogged pores or irritation.
Some ranges claiming to be preservative-free use essential oils, which may not be effective and could cause irritation.
As illustrated above, preservatives not only stop products "going off" but help to prevent contamination through usage - which could result in product spoilage and very serious infections of skin, eyes etc.
So, "preservative-free", "totally natural" and "naturally preserved" cosmetics could clog pores, cause irritation or contain unhealthy levels of micro-organisms which you really do not want anywhere near your skin.
Check labels and ensure your products were properly manufactured in a laboratory, don't buy used or "kitchen cosmetics" - you could be getting much more than you bargained for. Just because a product smells OK doesn't mean it isn't teeming with wildlife!
The ingredients mentioned above form a small part of our banned list. We can't disclose all our secrets! These substances might not have an immediate adverse effect on your skin but can eventually cause blemishes or undermine the skin's health. The result? Cumulative irritation, increased sensitivity, the skin not functioning healthily or looking its best. The difference between OK skin and naturally beautiful Mir skin.